Buggy looks around for the fifth time in the same number of minutes. He’s not nervous, of course not. He’s a captain pirate with his own crew and a hefty bounty for an East Blue pirate. He eats danger for breakfast! He’s also in the favourite island of one Monkey D Garp and probably the only place in his beautiful, calm, sane East Blue where he cannot relax. He looks over his shoulder again before reminding himself that Garp never goes to this side of the island, he is far away from Foosha Villa and the man’s precious grandson.
That brat is the only reason he is on the beast’s territory. And he curses himself from caving to Shanks pleas. So what if the old bastard didn’t let Shank anywhere near East Blue? He shouldn’t have been sniffing around the marine’s hero’s grandson to begin with. But no, he had to go and get attached. Give him the Captain’s hat. Give him his right arm, all because the brat didn’t know when to shut up and Shanks got too focused when he was protecting his own and forgot to ensure he kept all his limbs in the process. Moron.
So what if the idiot had come to him, still half delirious with fever from his infected shoulder and asked Buggy to check on the child once he was off to the grandline? Buggy didn’t have to say yes. He hadn’t said yes.
He never says yes to Shanks, not even when he is begging and offering him a place by his side.
So why is Buggy here?
He told his crew it was to get the big name to owe him a favour for doing basically nothing. He is good at lying to them even if Cabaji and Mohji are starting to see through him. But it’s not a lie, he tries to convince himself, not really. Buggy doesn’t doubt that Shanks will make it big and he will most definitely collect what he is owed.
It’s not the truth either.
Regardless, he is already here and Garp is going to be in the West Blue for at least three more months, he double checked. It would be stupid not to see the brat. It would also be stupid to go to Foosha in broad daylight so he will be waiting in this nice, lawless, remote junkyard he has found. There is even some type of makeshift bar that sells what could maybe pass for alcohol.
The people here are all rejects from society, brutes that only concern themselves with those weaker than them. And they are smart enough to feel that Buggy could take them without breaking a sweat. He smirks, even dressed as unflashily as possible he manages to make an impression.
He sits on a quiet corner and starts to ponder what to order when a child walks into the bar. He looks young, too young to be here but he moves with purpose and the other patrons don’t even blink at his presence. His eyes are tired and weary and Buggy recognize the weight in them.
Shanks had those eyes when they met, even before Buggy taught him how to survive in the gutter.
The kid shouldn’t be here. There are always children in the places they should not be.
The kid is fidgeting and looks ready to flee but he squares his shoulders and addresses them all. “What would you think if Roger had had a child?”
There’s a second of silence before the bar erupts in laughter.
They all laugh like the idea is ridiculous.
Like Roger hadn’t taken in two street rats and given them a home
“He would have been shot,” says the barkeeper with tears of laughter in his eyes.
There was a bang and Shanks fell and there was so much blood...
An enormous woman carrying a mace is the next one to talk. “If it existed it should have been drowned as a baby”
The sea is dark and Buggy can breathe or scream or move and he keeps sinking, and sinking, and sinking....
The man sitting across from Buggy spits on the ground. “It's a good thing that monster died.”
A head hitting the floor, cheers around him, tears in his eyes...
Buggy’s fist flies and hits the bastard at the same time as the kid does. They look at each other in surprise before having to focus on the brawl they just started. It’s a short one, he may be outnumbered sixteen to one
and a half
and nowhere near as strong as Shanks but Buggy still grew up in the New World and these men are such small fries that he almost pities them. One throws a knife at the kid and Buggy stops holding himself back. If they are fine with attacking the weak, so is he.
Not that the kid is weak. He is far stronger than even Shanks was at his age and his movements are practiced. His pain tolerance is also higher than any child’s should be and Buggy does his best to shelter him from the worse of the fight.
The kid doesn't thanks him for it, when the last of their enemies hits the ground the little shit tries to disappear on him. Tough luck, Buggy’s Observation Haki is bloody fantastic, thank you very much. But the kid is good, he knows how to move through the shadows and he makes no sound even when he starts trekking through the jungle.
So Buggy follows him. Of course he does! The brat is too young to be so angry and definitely too young to be getting into bar fights.
The brat was asking about the Captain
. He knows he won’t sleep easy until he sees him getting home safe and sound. And anyway, he is already checking in on a brat, so what’s another? Maybe he also lives in Foosha. He may even be Shanks’ brat, seems reckless enough to be. Probably not though, looks too old to be and he is definitely not the literal ball of sunshine that Shanks described.
The kid doesn’t go home or even to the village but he does climb into a treehouse where there are two other brats. One is an obvious runaway noble and the other is wearing a very familiar hat. Well fuck. Shanks will so owe him a drink.
He sighs and looks around before stepping into a branch which cracks loudly. He is quickly surrounded by the three boys, all of them holding pipes threateningly.